Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

Documents/Forms

Crediting Foods in the SFSP

The resources below provide guidance on determining whether foods and beverages credit toward the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) meal patterns for the SFSP.


Crediting Commercial Processed Products  |   Crediting Foods Prepared on Site
Crediting Requirements for the SFSP Meal Pattern Components

Crediting Commercial Processed Products in the SFSP

SFSP sponsors must obtain appropriate documentation to indicate that commercial products credit toward the SFSP meal patterns. For example, to credit a commercial breaded chicken patty as 2 ounces of the meat/meat alternates component, the manufacturer’s documentation must indicate that one serving of the product contains 2 ounces of cooked chicken. Allowable documentation includes:

  • the original Child Nutrition (CN) label from the product carton or a photocopy or photograph of the CN label shown attached to the original product carton; or
  • a product formulation statement (PFS) signed by an official of the manufacturer stating the amount of each meal pattern component contained in one serving of the product.

These are the only acceptable records for documenting a commercial product’s contribution to the USDA meal patterns. Without this documentation, SFSP sponsors cannot credit commercial products toward the SFSP meal patterns.

Crediting Foods Prepared on Site in the SFSP

To credit foods prepared on site toward the SFSP meal patterns, SFSP sponsors must maintain standardized recipes that document the crediting information per serving. For example, to credit macaroni and cheese as 2 ounces of the meat/meat alternates component and 2 ounces of the grains/breads component, the recipe must indicate that each serving contains 2 ounces of cheese and 1 cup of whole-grain or enriched pasta.

Crediting Requirements for the SFSP Meal Pattern Components

The resources below provide guidance on meeting the crediting requirements for the four SFSP food components: milk; meat/meat alternates; vegetables and fruits; and grains/breads.

Milk  |   Meat/Meat Alternates  |   Vegetables/Fruits  |   Grains/Breads

Milk Component for the SFSP

Milk must be pasteurized, meet all state and local requirements, and contain vitamins A and D at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The milk component includes pasteurized unflavored or flavored whole milk, reduced-fat (2%) milk, low-fat (1%) milk, fat-free milk, buttermilk, lactose-reduced milk, and acidophilus milk. Recommended types of milk include unflavored whole milk for age 1; unflavored low-fat or fat-free milk for ages 2-5; and unflavored or flavored low-fat or fat-free milk for ages 6 and older. SFSP menus may offer lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk to children who are lactose intolerant.

Overview of Requirements: Milk Component of the SFSP Meal Patterns (CSDE)

Meat/Meat Alternates Component for the SFSP

The required servings for the meat/meat alternates component refer to the edible portion of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish, e.g., cooked lean meat without bone, breading, binders, fillers, or other ingredients. Different types of meat and meat alternates require different amounts to credit as 1 ounce of the meat/meat alternates component. A 1-ounce serving of the meat/meat alternates component equals 1 ounce of lean meat, poultry, or fish (without binders, fillers, extenders, and liquids); 1 ounce of cheese (low-fat recommended); 2 ounces of cottage or ricotta cheese, cheese food/spread, or cheese substitute (low-fat recommended); ¼ cup of cooked beans and peas (legumes); ½ large egg; 2 tablespoons of nut or seed butters; 1 ounce of nuts or seeds; 1 ounce of tempeh; 3 ounces of surimi; ½ cup of yogurt; and 1 ounce of alternate protein products (APPs). Tofu does not credit in the SFSP.

The minimum creditable amount is ¼ ounce. If a food item provides less than the full-required serving, the SFSP menu must include the additional amount from other meat/meat alternates.

Overview of Requirements: Meat/Meat Alternates Component of the SFSP Meal Patterns (CSDE)

Vegetables/Fruits Component for the SFSP

The vegetables/fruits component includes fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables; fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruit (packed in water, full-strength juice, or light syrup); and pasteurized full-strength juice (fruit, vegetable, or combination). A serving of fruit may include the juice in which it is packed. A serving of cooked vegetables must be drained. 

The minimum creditable amount is ⅛ cup. If a food item provides less than the full-required serving, the SFSP menu must include the additional amount from other vegetables/fruits.

Juice cannot credit for more than half of the vegetables/fruits component at lunch and supper. Juice cannot be served at snack when milk is the only other snack component. The USDA recommends serving whole fruits (fresh, frozen, canned, and dried) more often than juice.

Overview of Requirements: Vegetables/Fruits Component of the SFSP Meal Patterns (CSDE)

Grains/Breads Component for the SFSP

Grains/breads must be whole grain, enriched, or contain a blend of whole and enriched grains. Bran and germ credit the same as enriched and whole grains. Breakfast cereals must be whole grain, enriched, or fortified.

The minimum creditable amount is ¼ ounce. If a food item provides less than the full-required serving, the SFSP menu must include the additional amount from other grains/breads.The serving size must meet the required weight (groups A-G) or volume (groups H-I) in Serving Sizes for Grains/Breads in the SFSP, or provide the minimum creditable grains per serving.

Overview of Requirements: Grains/Breads Component of the SFSP Meal Patterns (CSDE)